Sam Smith

Did you know the soda I bought yesterday at a convenience store cost $19.90? Or that it costs you about $13,000 to drive your car? Or that the property tax on what you thought was a modest home is $17,000?

How did I reach such figures? The same way politicians and the media have been doing in recent years: just multiple everything by ten, but don’t tell any one.

It’s so much more impressive, for example, to think that a healthcare bill is going to cost a trillion dollars than only one hundred billion.

Of course, if you watch carefully you discover that the use of this ploy is selective. For example, you don’t see it much when estimating the cost of the Afghanistan war in which we may well be for a decade.

The ten year inflation has crept up on us quietly. Nobody told us about it. And It’s dishonest and confusing, but most of all, it’s extremely useful for those trying to cut the budget for something.

While you can’t expect politicians to reform, it’s not unreasonable to demand that the media stop multiplying budget figures by ten. Just tell us what it will cost each year.

If we don’t stop this digital inflation now, the next thing we know our kids in kindergarten will all be sixty years old and the Washington Post will be running editorials on the severe problems of premature aging.

We’ve got enough problems with reality to the first power. Stop multiplying it by ten.

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